World Childless Week 2020 Starts Tomorrow, Monday 14 September

7 themes, 11+ live online events and more!

It starts tomorrow – 2020’s World Childless Week!

When I first started writing about childlessness on my blog back in 2011 I really found very little on the internet about involuntary childlessness apart from a few wonderful life-after-infertility blogs such as Silent SororityLife Without Baby and The Road Less Travelled. However, as fertility treatments hadn’t been part of my story, I didn’t immediately find them. And there certainly didn’t seem to be anything out there that spoke to the diversity of ways a woman could find herself childless. So, when I wrote that very first blog and women from around the world left comments such as “How do you know the exact words in my head?” and, “I thought I was the only one thinking this”, I sat at my desk and wept tears of relief to know that I wasn’t alone. When I later found out that 1 in 5 women my age (born in the 1960s in the UK) was childless, I couldn’t work out why I didn’t know (or know of) even one. (You can read more of my story in the free sample chapter of my book).

Over the last almost decade, the work of Gateway Women has, extraordinarily, touched the lives of millions of women around the world and my life is certainly FULL of fabulous childless women these days! One of them is the British Founder of World Childless Week, Stephanie Phillips. She created World Childless Week in 2017 thinking it would get a few likes on Facebook but, in that first year alone, Twitter analytics documented 1.2 million tweets of the hashtag #WorldChildlessWeek, and in 2018 the campaign reached 85 countries. Now in its 4th year, you can find out more about her and the background to WCW here, including the WCW press release – why not email it to your local radio station or share about it at work – surely we’ve all seen enough ‘support’ for pandemic parenting circulating haven’t we?!

Stephanie was inspired to start World Childless Week after recognizing the need for a global campaign to support those who are childless not by choice or childless by circumstance. Across the world now, there are an average of 1 in 5 women who are reaching midlife without children (it varies from 1 in 3 in German and Japan to 1 in 6 in the USA – full demographic details in the new 2nd edition of my book). Of those women, 10% are childless by choice (childfree), 10% are childless due to infertility and 80% are childless by circumstance. It’s the last number that always surprises everyone but not me – in the many years that I’ve been supporting childless women in our private membership community, I’ve heard thousands of these stories, many of them laced with a nasty dose of shame too that somehow they should have been more in charge of luck, timing, circumstances and other people’s behaviour than is really possible. (That’s why my ’50 Ways Not to be a Mother’ list has also been updated in the new edition, and you’ll find that section in the free chapter download too!)

As one of 23 World Childless Week Champions from around the world, I am proud to announce that Gateway Women is involved in many of the online activities planned for next week and I’ll be very busy on social media and in the Gateway Women Private Membership Community.

Don’t forget that from tomorrow, the content that has been submitted by childless individuals from around the world will also go live on the WCW website on each of the themed days – so as well as the events below (+ others listed on the WCW website) don’t forget to keep your eye on the World Childless Week website each day from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th September and/or follow WCW on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, or sign up for the World Childless Week newsletter here.

Below is a bit more JUST about the events that Gateway Women is involved in next week (only because if I wrote about all of them, I’d never get this finished!) 

Sunday 13 September – Jody is on ‘The Not Mom Conversation’
(12 noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK, 9pm Europe; 4am/5am Monday Australia; 7am Monday NZ) 
Join me as I speak with Karen and Laura from The NotMom for a live-streamed conversation on both YouTube and Facebook about World Childless Week. I was as proud as punch to be the keynote speaker at their 2017 NotMom Conference (you can watch that talk here) and I’m really looking forward to speaking to them later today! (It will also be available to watch on The NotMom’s YouTube channel afterwards. And if you miss it, Karen is one of my six guests for my ‘Inspiring Childless Elders’ webinar on Wednesday (scroll down for more info on that).
Tuesday 15 September – How Inclusive Are Most HR Policies Towards Childless Employees?
(12noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK, 9pm Europe; 4am/5am Mon Australia, 7am Mon NZ).
For Tuesday’s DIVERSITY themed day of World Childless Week, join Karin Enfield de Vries, Gateway Women’s Operations Director, for a practical workshop with Dr Lindsay Bishop (a GW Community Member) and Les Finnemore who will talk about their experience of creating a childless-inclusive staff policy at Bristol University as well as Dr Katy Schnitzler, the founder of MIST, a UK organisation set up to support HR teams to create policies around infertility, miscarriage and childlessness in the workplace. For more information and to register click here. This webinar will be recorded and available to view on the World Childless Week website after the live event.
Wednesday 16th September – Inspiring Childless Elders
7am Pacific, 9am Central, 10am Eastern, 3pm UK, 4pm Europe, 10pm/Midnight Australia
For Wednesday’s AGEING WITHOUT CHILDREN themed day for World Childless Week, please allow me to introduce you to six inspiring elderwoman from around the world: Karen Malone Wright, Jackie Shannon Hollis, Kate Kaufmann and Maria Hill from the US, Donna Ward from Australia and Stella Duffy OBE from the UK. In a wide-ranging discussion, we hope to cover topics such as: identity; ageism/agism; dealing with grandchildren-grief; relationships across the life course and coping with childless holidays. You can find out more about each of these inspiring women and sign up for the webinar here. It will be recorded and available to view on the World Childless Week website after the live recording.
Thursday 17th September – The End of the Line: Tending the Grief of Childlessness
11am Pacific, 1pm Central, 2pm Eastern, 7pm UK, 8pm Europe; Thus 2am/4am Aus, 6am NZ

I am proud to be one of the speakers at the introductory evening for The End of the Line which will explore the landscape of childless grief. The evening, organised by long-time GW member Alison Heatherington in collaboration with Sophy Banks and Dita Visozo will offer some simple yet powerful practices, talk about the transformative possibility of grieving together, and share a little of our childless journeys. The evening has a suggested donation cost of GBP£5-10 to attend, if you are able to afford it. You can find out more and book here and if you wanted to read Alison’s beautiful blog about her childless grief and what this event means to her, you’ll find that here. As far as I’m aware, the event will not be recorded.

Friday 18th September – How to Deal with Comments that Hurt When You Just Want to Say F***k Off!
2am Pacific, 10am UK, 11am Europe, 5pm/7pm Australia, 9pm NZ

For the COMMENTS THAT HURT themed day of World Childless Week, please join Karin Enfield, Gateway Women’s Operations Director along with Sarah Roberts, counsellor and founder of The Empty Cradle in Brisbane, Australia for this practical workshop on how to cope with those social landmines we’re all extremely familiar with! There is no perfect answer to some of the intrusive and insensitive questions childless people are regularly asked, but with support and a few new tools, it can get easier to navigate our social worlds. For more information and to register for this webinar click here. It will be recorded and available to view on the World Childless Week website after the live recording.

Saturday 19th September: Gateway Women Zoom Cafe
10am Pacific, 12noon Central, 1pm Eastern, 6pm UK, 7pm Europe; Sun 1am/3am Aus, 5am NZ

 
For the WE ARE WORTHY themed day of World Childless Week, join myself and Karin Enfield de Vries (GW’s Operations Director, the Hive Leader for the 2020 UK/EU Online Bee Program and the founder of GW’s Dutch sister organisation Gateway Women Benelux) for a live GW Community Zoom Cafe. We run these Zoom Cafes twice a month (and I also host a monthly one for NOMO TRIBE, our community for members who are out the other side of their grief). They’re a hugely popular and affirming way for our members to deepen their connections with each other and break through the isolation that often accompanies being childless – let alone childless in a pandemic! Follow this link to register for the call (which is not recorded so that our members feel able to be completely free to say what’s on their mind!) If you are already a member of the GW Community on Mighty Networks, it will open directly into the community and, if not, it will prompt you to join. Your first month is free followed by a very modest monthly fee with reduced/free options for anyone who needs one. As all applications are manually ID-checked, joining can take 24-72 hours so please don’t leave this till the last minute or you’ll probably miss it! Any questions, or if you’re having problems accessing the community, please email community@gateway-women.com
Saturday 19th September – We Are Worthy & So Are You!
11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern, 6pm UK, 7pm Europe; Mon 2am/4am Australia, 6am NZ

Also for the WE ARE WORTHY themed day of World Childless Week, join 12 of World Childless Week’s Champions, including myself and Karin Enfield de Vries (Gateway Women’s Operations Director) as together we reach back in time to tell ourselves what we wish we could have heard back then. We celebrate our worthiness as human beings, something which is not dependent on being a parent, and we hope that together we’ll inspire you of what may lie ahead, on the other side of your pain and sadness. For more info and to register click here. It will be recorded and available to view on the World Childless Week website after the live recording.

Sunday 20th September 2020 – Healing Loss with Love & Light
10am Pacific; 11am Mountain; 12 noon Central; 1pm Eastern; 6pm UK; 7pm Europe.

For the final MOVING FORWARDS themed day of World Childless Week, join Kelly Brandt, a certified bereavement facilitator and licenced Gateway Women facilitator along with your tribe of childless people around the world to honour those children not in our lives through music, poetry, ritual and readings. I will be doing a reading and the ceremony will include readings, singing, music and poetry from other GW members and facilitators including Elizabeth Grambsch (North American/Australian Online Bee Hive Leader); Kristine Mallett (Licenced GW workshop facilitator and GW Meetup Host), Nadira Kimberly (GW community member), Stephanie Phillips (Founder of World Childless Week) and Dr Vula Baliotis (a psychologist supporting childless clients). Your participation in the ceremony will be anonymous and the event will be recorded and available afterwards to view on the World Childless Week website. If you have ever wanted to do a ritual around your childless losses but haven’t know how or where or who to do it with, this is your chance. Any questions to Kelly Brandt, the organiser at losstolight@gmail.com Click here for more information, to watch a short video from Kelly and to register.

Donate to support World Childless Week
World Childless Week is made possible by the incredibly hard work behind the scenes of the Founder, Stephanie Phillips and all of her World Childless Week Champions. We all donate our time free, but creating something like this isn’t without costs and so if you could donate any amount, no matter how modest (or huge!) to support the digital and admin costs of World Childless Week it would be so appreciated. You can donate here:  https://worldchildlessweek.net/donate

I really look forward to seeing you in one of the many events GW is involved in next week, and if you don’t feel up to that yet, that’s fine too – trust that you know what’s best for you right now and follow along next week in whatever way works for you. In time, and with the support of your childless sisters from around the world, your heart will begin to heal too, as mine has done, with your support and love over the years.

Thank you, to each of you, for being my Tribe.

3 Comments on World Childless Week 2020 Starts Tomorrow, Monday 14 September

  1. Seeing my blog at the top of your post made my day. 🙂 Thank you! and thanks for the roundup of all the great events happening this week. Some of them are a little too early in the morning for my timezone to attend live 😉 but I will look forward to watching later. Loved your talk with The NotMom yesterday!

  2. Thanks so much for the shoutout, Jody! I am outrunning wildfire smoke (2020 nightmares abound !!! this one on top of the pandemic…) I am now temporarily in Wyoming with dodgy Internet connectivity so unable to participate directly in all the wonderful online programs. Know I’ll be with you in spirit 💞

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